Cape Cornwall and Cot Valley – an hours’ drive from us here in Falmouth, was where we headed this weekend. It’s beautiful there, really beautiful, take your breath away beautiful, but then, so are many of the places in Cornwall. Really, truly awe-inspiringly beautiful.
The drive from Falmouth is a pleasure in itself. The weather was fabulous this weekend when we travelled over the hills towards Helston, past Penzance beyond into the far south west, but regardless of the weather, it’s still a great journey.
On the first leg from Falmouth to Helston, the 360 views across the valleys and beyond are inspiring. You can see the far south coast in a straight line on the horizon as well as the wonderful patchwork of fields and hedgerows with horses, cattle and sheep grazing and chimneys still standing tall, proud remains of Cornwall’s mining heritage. There is a great feeling of freedom along this stretch of road.
From historic Helston towards Penzance, the sea is a constant on your left hand side and at Praa Sands the v-shaped valley opens up to reveal it in all its beautiful blueness.
Further on at Marazion, you catch glimpses of the magnificent St Michael’s Mount.
The final leg of the hour’s journey takes you into the wilderness of the far south west and you have a sense of driving right to the end of the land; there in front of you, the sea, as far as the eye can see and all around fields, hedges, stone walls and occasional dwellings.
Looking back at Cape’s monument
We reached the welcoming town of St Just, but passed through, until later, driving along the one way road towards the cape itself. We began our walk from the National Trust car-park there, first, striding up to the tip of the cape where the monument stands. Here we gazed for several minutes, admiring the breathtaking views.
Then we descended and followed the coast path towards Cot Valley, stopping near ruins next to a rushing stream to rest and let our lovely old staffy take a paddle and drink. The ruins have been part restored and there are interesting and informative signs detailing their purpose. Tin and copper in this area of Cornwall in particular has been exploited over the centuries. Here, in Cot Valley, are the remains of production works from the nineteenth century where water power from the fast flowing stream had been channelled to help with the processing of ore. It would once have been a hive of activity, now it’s a peaceful haven.
From this spot, we walked along the valley bottom, following the stream and its lovely loquacious rush towards the sea. The rugged, wild beach at the end where the stream meets the shore is spectacular. Giant, sea worn, spherical boulders litter the route to the shining, slick sands. We skipped and hopped from boulder to boulder to reach startlingly clear waters.
Waves lazily washed the shore on the day we visited, but the sea’s indomitable force can be seen in the ways it has shaped and formed the landscape, most noticeably in the low lying rippled rocks with dips and hollows perfect for exploring nature.
We lingered for a while, enjoying exploring, before seeking the route back towards St Just.
We ascended up the steep valley side, crossing grassy fields, over stone stiles towards the iron age fort -Kenidjack Castle. We’ll take a better look at this fascinating place on a return visit, but this time we circled back to the cape, calling in to St Just for a drink in one of their fabulous pubs The Kings Arms.
To the left of the Cape, with Kenidjack Castle at the tip of the headland
Delicious food and stunning setting: The Greenbank Hotel has it all
The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth is in a fabulous location right on the water’s edge overlooking the mouth of the river. Boats galore litter the waters and the attractive village of Flushing can be seen on the far bank. We went there for a celebratory meal last week. It was our wedding anniversary and as The Greenbank hosted our wedding breakfast, the place holds wonderful memories for us. The food is superb and rather special, made even more so by the restaurant’s spectacular setting.
Another of Falmouth’s Gems
En-route home from The Greenbank, we visited The Boathouse pub for a night cap. In an elevated spot, it also overlooks the river mouth and consequently has amazing views. We sat in a window seat and enjoyed the night lights of Falmouth and Flushing as well as the relaxed atmosphere inside this great pub.
The atmospheric interior of The Boathouse
In other walks…
A shorter mid-week walk last week gave an opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna along the coast path from Swanpool to Maenporth. Cornwall is so beautiful #sigh. Don’t believe me, come and experience it for yourself…
Views back towards Swanpool and Falmouth from the coast path
Coast path from Swanpool to Maenporth: Honeysuckle in full bloom
Coast path from Swanpool to Maenporth: Elderflower; I’ve made some delicious cordial from this year’s blossoms